Dallas Cowboys: Richard Seymour

Should Cowboys look at Luis Castillo?

March, 5, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- What was reported last week is now official: San Diego has released defensive end Luis Castillo.

Should the Cowboys take a look at the seven-year veteran?

If you play the “he’s better than” game, then absolutely. But it also means having to study Castillo’s health pretty intently. He missed all but one game last year for the Chargers with a broken left leg and has played 16 games in a year just twice. He entered the league with an elbow injury and a failed steroid test, but the Cowboys were high on him back in 2005.

At 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, Castillo has the size teams want in a 3-4 defensive end. He also brings a pass rush that the Cowboys lack in their ends. He has 19 sacks in seven years and seven came in his second year. Marcus Spears has nine. Kenyon Coleman has 13.5. Jason Hatcher has 12.

After talking to some folks at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis two weeks ago, this draft does not appear to have the talented 3-4 ends of a year ago, like a J.J. Watt, Cameron Jordan or Cameron Heyward. This draft seems to have more interior defensive linemen.

Too often around here we have been schooled in the 3-4 philosophy that these ends are just supposed to hold guys up and let the other guys make plays. Forget that. Watt, Justin Smith, Richard Seymour and Aaron Smith show you that you can get to the passer from that spot.

Castillo would offer the Cowboys something they don’t currently have and he’d likely come at a good price.

Maybe they can use Miles Austin as a recruiter. He was Castillo’s high school teammate in Garfield, N.J.

Free agent series: Defensive line

March, 1, 2010
Welcome to Day 2 of our free agent series. On Monday, we looked at Miles Austin, the restricted free agent wide receiver.

Today, it's time to look at the Cowboys defensive line.

Of the Cowboys' 13 restricted free agents, four are from the defensive line and each played well last season.

[+] EnlargeMarcus Spears
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireMarcus Spears had 50 tackles, 2.5 sacks and tied his career best with 16 quarterback pressures last season.
Who are they? Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, Marcus Spears and Junior Siavii.

Should they keep them? Yes.

How much to pay? The Cowboys will probably tender all four of these players, but Spears, an end, was looking for a new contract after his rookie one expired following the season. Spears, a starter who had 50 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and a career-best tying 16 quarterback pressures, should return.

The Cowboys will probably offer Spears, a five-year veteran, a first-round tender of $2.621 million for 2010.

Under normal conditions, another NFL team might scoop up Spears. But with the 2010 year expected to be uncapped because the owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement, and teams probably not willing to spend as much, we doubt Spears will go elsewhere.

Bowen, an end, has shown the most upside among the backups by playing well on passing downs last season. He compiled career highs in sacks (three) and quarterback pressures (35). He had two more pressures than two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff.

It's hard to say what to give Bowen, a four-year veteran. The Cowboys value him a lot, but do you place a second-round tender on him at $1.759 million or a first-round tender of $2.521 million?

Michael Turner
Tim Heitman/US PresswireJason Hatcher (97), who finished last season with 13 tackles and a sack, likely will get a second-round tender offer of $1.759 million.
Hatcher, another four-year veteran who plays end, came on strong toward the end of the year after finally discovering a groove after offseason surgery. Hatcher had six quarterback pressures the last four weeks of the season.

Hatcher most likely will get a second-round tender offer of $1.759 million.

The Cowboys like Siavii's ability to back up Ratliff at nose. He's had some moments, like the seven-tackle, one-quarterback pressure performance vs. Atlanta, and he picked up three solo tackles vs. Washington. But his snap count changed.

He played just 13 snaps the last three weeks of the season, including one play in the regular-season finale vs. Philadelphia. But in two postseason games, Siavii played 27 total snaps.

Siavii could get an offer of $1.176 million or a minimum salary of much lower than that.

Other free agents worth looking at this position: This is a strong position as evidenced by Aubrayo Franklin, Vince Wilfork and Richard Seymour getting franchised. Pittsburgh locked up Casey Hampton with a new contract. Also, Julius Peppers, who wouldn't mind playing for the Cowboys, is an unrestricted free agent. Dallas won't dip into the free agent market here because it likes its depth at this position.

Miles Austin wasn't franchised today

February, 25, 2010
Ok, as you already know, Miles Austin wasn't franchised by the Cowboys today.

However, the following players were franchised for the 2010 season:Green Bay DT Ryan Pickett, New England DT Vince Wilfork, Oakland DE Richard Seymour, who given a exclusive rights franchise tag, Pittsburgh K Jeff Reed, San Francisco DT Aubrayo Franklin and Seattle K Olindo Mare.

Now these players can work out deals with their respective teams for the exception of Seymour who is an "exclusive" franchise player. He's not free to sign with another team and is offered the minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player's position as of April 15, 2010 or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, or the average of the top five salaries at his position as of the end of 2009, whichever of the three is greater.

We're sure Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff will be watching how much Wilfork and Franklin get if they come to terms on a long-term contract.

There were only six players given the franchise tag. It's the first time since 2007 that the franchise tag number was in single-digits (seven). Last season, 14 players were franchised and in 2008 12 got the tag.

Raiders-Cowboys key matchups

November, 26, 2009
We’ll look at one matchup on both sides of the ball:

Raiders DE Richard Seymour vs. Cowboys LT Flozell Adams: Inexperienced replacement RT Doug Free will need help against ex-Cowboy Greg Ellis on passing plays. That means Adams will usually be left alone against Seymour.

The Seymour, who has four sacks this season, isn’t the kind of speedy edge rusher that tends to give Adams trouble. At 6-6, 310 pounds, Seymour relies more on power. That plays to the 6-7, 338-pound Adams’ strengths.

The importance of Adams’ job is increased with Tony Romo fighting lower back pain. The Cowboys can’t afford to have Seymour or any other Raider getting clean shots from Romo’s blind side.

Cowboys SS Gerald Sensabaugh and nickel LB Bobby Carpenter vs. Oakland TE Zach Miller: The Raiders’ receivers are speedy, but they certainly won’t scare the Cowboys’ secondary. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy and Johnnie Lee Higgins have combined to catch only 30 of the 111 passes thrown their way this season.

Miller is by far the Raiders’ most efficient receiving threat. He leads Oakland with 34 catches (on 54 targets) for 495 yards and two touchdowns. Shut down the 6-5, 255-pound Miller and the Oakland aerial attack goes kaput.

The Cowboys have allowed five touchdown passes to tight ends this season, but they’ve done a much better job covering tight ends than in the recent past. That’s primarily because Sensabaugh is so much better in coverage than Roy Williams and the other strong safeties the Cowboys used last season. Carpenter has also been effective in coverage in his first season as the nickel linebacker.

The Cowboys can afford to make Miller the focus of their coverage schemes. That’s what they did with Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez, holding the future Hall of Famer to 37 yards on four catches.